When I'm lucky enough to get to an Asian market (the closest is nearly 20 miles away), I steer my cart right to the produce aisles to stock up on things the grocery store in my village doesn't carry: choy sum, lemongrass, fresh bean sprouts, and my favorite baby bok choy, a miniature Chinese cabbage. You can make this stir-fry with grown-up bok choy, by trimming the head through the root into smaller wedges, but if you can find the babies, you'll love the sweeter flavor and more delicate texture. Choose heads with either white or a pale green stalks; the taste is the same, so buy whichever color coordinates with the rest of your dinner. This recipe utilizes one of my lazy-girl techniques for wok cooking: pan steaming, the same method used to make potstickers. Rather than blanching the bok choy in a separate pot, I stir-fry in the wok, then toss in a small amount of water and slap a lid on to catch the steam. The tender baby bok choy heads cook quickly this way, while absorbing the flavors of the sauce -- and I only have to wash one pan.
Bok choy stir-fry with ginger and garlic
4 heads of baby bok choy, white or green
1-1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger root
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot
Sesame seeds (black, white, or a mix) for garnish
Cut the baby bok choy in half lengthwise, leaving the root attached, to make 8 pieces. Trim the leaves as needed to neaten them, but don't remove all of the leafy tops.
Heat a wok over low heat. When the wok is hot, add the sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, to allow the ginger and garlic to infuse the oil. Add the soy sauce, and then the bok choy.
Toss the bok choy in the sauce briefly, then add 1/4 cup of water to the wok. Immediately slap a cover on it (I use the lid of a large soup pot), to allow the bok choy to steam. Keep the cover on for 2 minutes.
While the bok choy is steaming, stir together the cornstarch (or arrowroot) and 2 teaspoons of water in a small measuring cup.
Remove the pan cover and stick a sharp knife into the root end of one of the pieces of bok choy. If it's just tender, it's ready; if not, add 2 teaspoons of water, cover, and cook for 1 more minute. Toss the bok choy again in the sauce, then add the cornstarch mixture. Stir until the sauce is lightly thickened and well distributed.
Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Steamed baby bok choy with spicy hoisin glaze
Tofu, bok choy and portobello mushroom fried rice
Sweet potato and apple potstickers
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Gingery sauteed tat-soi with tofu steaks, from Food Blogga
Chicken bok choy, from Andrea Meyers
Restaurant-style Chinese greens with oyster sauce, from Rasa Malaysia
Baby bok choy with braised shiitake sauce, from Appetite for China
Bok choy in coconut milk, from Hooked on Heat
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